Record: (23-9, 12-6 AAC)
Conference: American Athletic Conference
How They Qualified: At-Large
The Memphis Tigers have been an interesting team all year long. Expectations for the program haven’t been this high since some guy named John Calipari ran the program. Cal hasn’t been around for some time now, but it doesn’t mean Memphis is a lost cause. Led by recruiting master — and lost Osmond — Josh Pastner, the Tigers need to go on an NCAA Tournament run. Even if it is only to silence people who think Pastner can’t coach.
This season has had its share of up and downs, but the highlight might actually be about the time Pastner suspended one of his players for cursing. Yeah, kids — cursing.
What You Need to Know
Leading Scorer: Joe Jackson 14.3
Leading Rebounder: Shaq Goodwin 6.6
Leading Passer: Joe Jackson 2.2
Bad Losses: Houston
Good Wins: Oklahoma State, Louisville (twice), Gonzaga
What to Expect
Despite all of the regular season success under Pastner, Memphis hasn’t nearly seen equal amounts of awesomeness in the NCAA Tournament. However, this might be Pastner’s most balanced team. Led by Joe Jackson, the Tigers can put the ball in the basket with nearly anyone in the country.
One of Memphis’ biggest concerns in the past were if the weak conference (former Conference USA members) would help them prepare for the big dance. Now a fully functioning member of the AAC, and with a good non-conference schedule behind them, there are very few excuses as to why Memphis should do anything other than win.
It is inevitable that Pastner is going to take this program to new heights. Whether or not it is this year will be figured out very shortly. When filling out your brackets, however, I wouldn’t bet against this team. Fourth year in the tourney under Pastner could finally be the year.